Liverpool produced a statement 3-1 victory against Manchester City to go nine points clear at the top of the Premier League — but clear of Leicester City, not the Citizens.
Jürgen Klopp made five changes to the side that beat Genk midweek with Dejan Lovren, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino all returning to the starting XI. A stellar minute silenced was followed by the typical Anfield roar as the potential title defining fixture got underway.
City piled on the pressure within the opening minutes but it was Liverpool who took the lead through the most unlikely of sources. A quick Red counterattack saw Mané run down the flank and produce a cross. A poor clearance by Ilkay Gundogan, however, saw the ball trickle out to Fabinho who channelled his inner Steven Gerrard vs Olympiakos to produce an absolute rocket that flew past Claudio Bravo.
VAR was again at the heart of the action as a potential handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold was overlooked, however the goal stood and the Kop roared.
Like what you see? Get it for free!
Get all of our content delivered straight to your inbox — completely free of charge.
City responded well to going behind and immediately piled the pressure on the Reds with the reigning Champions seemingly edging closer and closer to an equaliser.
Despite the city pressure, Liverpool showed why they are one of the most feared counterattacking sides in Europe as they broke quickly and doubled their lead with only their second attack of the game.
A peach of a cross field ball by Alexander-Arnold found Andrew Robertson in acres of space and the Scotland captain did what he does best. A brilliant curling ball into the box dropped perfectly for Mohamed Salah who calmly headed it back across goal and past a sprawling Bravo who hadn’t a chance. 2-0 after 13 minutes.
Following the second goal, City’s play became much more conservative – perhaps as they feared leaving themselves open to another counterattack. With this being said, Pep Guardiola’s side still pressed Liverpool, with the Reds eventually needing to call on Alisson to bail them out as Sergio Aguero wiggled free inside the box and looked to bend one into the corner.
City continued to show why they have won two consecutive Premier Leagues, as they expertly kept position and continued to try to break Liverpool down.
Their best chance of the game came after a piece of Kevin De Bruyne brilliance fed Angeliño who burst into the box. The Spanish full back took aim and saw his deflected effort earn the visitors a corner after it shaved Alisson’s post. The warning signs were definitely there for Klopp’s table toppers.
Liverpool continued their counterattacking tactics and a brilliant run by Alexander-Arnold almost saw the Reds get a third. The right back drove down the heart of City’s team, taking on all comers as he weaved his way to the edge of the area before feeding Firmino. The Brazilian took a touch before testing Bravo but it was straight down the keeper’s throat who produced a simple save.
The Chilean was called upon again towards the end of the half and this time produced a magnificent save to deny Salah as the Egyptian latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and sent it curling towards the top corner. Brilliant save by Bravo who ensured that his team went into the break only 2-0 down.
The Reds increased their lead within minutes of coming out for the second half after brilliant work by captain Jordan Henderson. The skipper received the ball on the byline and managed to both keep it in play and provide a world class cross to the back post where Mané lay in wait.
The Senegalese hitman crept in behind Kyle Walker and headed it into the net. Bravo will disappointed with goal as he should’ve done better considering he got a good hand to the ball. 3-0 after 50 minutes. Unlike in the first half, City had no response to the Liverpool goal as Klopp’s men penned back the reigning champions and began to pile on the pressure ahead of an increasingly impressive result.
Into the final 15 minutes and City finally began to test Liverpool’s resolve with Guardiola’s side enjoying a prolonged spell of possession which ended in a Bernardo Silva goal. A deflected Angeliño cross fell perfectly to the Portuguese winger who took the shot first time, curling the ball towards Alisson’s left post and into the back of the net.
The goal seemed to give City a second wind as they quickly created a second opportunity that should have ended in a goal. Sterling broke through and squared to Gabriel Jesus who couldn’t direct his effort on target. Let off for Liverpool.
As the minutes ticked on, Liverpool continued to soak up pressure – much to Guardiola’s and the City players’ visible frustration.
An international break now sees Klopp’s men get a break from the Premier League title race with their next fixture taking them to London as they travel away to Crystal Palace on November 23.